From anthropology to AI: Meet the U of T expert guiding the software companies of tomorrow

Helen Kontozopoulos may not be an artificial intelligence researcher, but she knows more than most about the technology – not to mention what it takes to put it to practical use. 

That’s among the reasons the co-director of the University of Toronto’s Department of Computer Science Innovation Lab (DCSIL) was recently tapped to represent Canada on an AI mission to the United Kingdom organized by the U.K. Science and Innovation Network. 

The three-day mission, with stops in London, Oxford and Cambridge, explored opportunities for international collaboration in AI-related research and business initiatives – with the latter falling directly within Kontozopoulos’s wheelhouse.

“Just because you’re making great technology doesn’t mean someone is going to buy it,” Kontozopoulos says, citing Google Glass as a classic example of an impressive technological hammer in desperate search of a nail.

“We need to be solving real problems for real customers and users.”

Kontozopoulos's rare mix of technological know-how and real-world experience is woven into the very fabric of DCSIL, which she co-founded in 2015 with Adjunct Professor Mario Grech and Associate Professor, Teaching Stream Paul Gries, both in U of T’s department of computer science in the Faculty of Arts & Science. The accelerator, one of several entrepreneurship hubs on campus, is housed in an open-concept workspace on the second floor of U of T’s Gerstein Science Information Centre and offers software-focused entrepreneurs and their startups a road to the commercial realm.

Read the full story at U of T News